At the monthly Muscatine Board of Water, Electric and Communications Trustees meeting, MP&W General Manager, Gage Huston, introduced the Board to new Senior Leadership Team members Ryan Streck and Doug White. Mr. Streck, Director of Utility Service Delivery, has been with MP&W since 1998 and most recently led MP&W’s System Control Center. Mr. White, Director of Power Production and Supply, has been with MP&W since 1988 and most recently led the maintenance department at MP&W’s Power Plant. “I’ve worked directly with both Ryan and Doug, and both bring a level of leadership, ownership, and teamwork to advance the important initiatives we have, and both work well across departmental lines in the best interest of the Utility and in serving our customer/owners,” said Huston.
The Trustees were updated on recent legislative actions at Tuesday’s meeting. One of the more controversial bills of the season impacting utilities, HF 669/SF 583, which concerned changes to the way Investor Owned Utilities (IOUs) compensate solar projects, did not pass. As state policy currently stands, IOUs are required by the Iowa Utilities Board to pay customers with renewable generation for the excess energy produced at the retail rate. This approach has IOUs and their customers subsidizing solar projects. Nationwide, there is a growing trend to move away from this practice. For those advocating in favor of a policy change, MP&W’s approach to net metering was an often-cited example of a good practice – it does not discourage implementation of solar installations, but also does not further subsidize installations.
“Being a public entity in a heavily regulated industry, it is important for MP&W to stay on top of any legislative changes,” said Huston. “We track state bills moving through the legislative process, paying particular attention to those impacting public sector organizations, utilities, traffic laws, and employment.”
In other updates, the Board was updated on MP&W’s 5k walk/run. Held Saturday, June 15, the MP&W Wellness Team hosted over 50 participants in the event (see images below). The Muscatine Running Club assisted with the organization and execution of the event.
Construction on the MP&W customer/visitor lobby is anticipated to be complete and reopened by the end of July. The project, which began in April, includes modification to the lobby layout and drive-up window. The redesign adds an additional level of security for customer service personnel and improves traffic flow for customer business conducted with MP&W. The previous design of the Lobby was adapted over the years to account for changes in business, specifically with the addition of equipment and customer traffic that came with the Communications Utility, and as customer interactions have changed. “While an inconvenience during the construction period, we’re excited to offer a new experience to our customers. Dropbox and lobby access have remained available during the construction,” concluded Huston.
In Other action, the Board:
- Accepted contract change order and final acceptance for the Construction of Hardened Data Center Project for a final price of $1,941,286. The project was completed by Woodruff Construction, LLC of Tiffin, IA. This reinforces the part of the A/O Center housing critical communications equipment from severe weather.
- Approved a revised project summary form for the CCR Landfill Partial Cover Project.
- Approved the award the contract for the CCR Landfill Partial Cover Project to DeLong Construction, Inc., of Washington, IA for a total price of $1,058,560.
- Accepted revised project summary form for the 316(b) Cooling Water Intake Project for an increase from $509,000 to $1,063,088. This project summary was initially developed in 2013 in anticipation of updates to Section 316(b) of the Clean Water Act being finalized and adjustments to the project amount reflect final Rule requirements. Section 316(b) concerns cooling water intakes and the requirements to minimize adverse impacts on river biology. Completion the required studies and subsequent reporting is expected in 2022.